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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

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The four last-named woods are given as the limits of the Braj Handal ia
the Mowing sloka, and it is distinctly noted that ike city of Mathnrd is at the
same distance, mat., 21 kos3 from .each one of them : 


The Pandits, who were asked to reconcile these limits with those mentioned
m the Hindi couplet previously quoted, declared Hasya-ban in the east to be
Hie same as Barhadd in Aligarh: Upah&ra-ban in the west as Sona in Q-urg&nw;
Jahnu-ban to the south the same as Surasen-k4~g&nWj or Batesar; and Bhuvans-
"ban to the north, Bhiikhan-han near Shergarh. The identification is probably
little more than conjectural ; but a superstition, which is at once both comparatively
modern and also practically obsolete, scarcely deserves a more protracted inves-
tigation than has already been bestowed upon it.
Next to the Ban-j&tra, the most popular local festvity is the Holi, which is
observed for several days in succession at different localities. Several of the usages
are, I believe, entirely unknown beyond the limits of Braj, even to the people of
the country ; and, so far as I could ascertain by enquiries, they had never been
witnessed by any European. Accordingly, as the festival fell unusually early
in 1877j while the weather was still cool enough to allow of a mid-day ride without
serious inconvenience, I took advantage of the opportunity thus afforded me and
made the round of all the principal villages in the Chhat& and Kosi parganas where
the rejoicings of the Fhiil Dol, for so these Hindu Saturnalia are popularly termed,
are celebrated with any peculiarities, visiting each place on its special f6te-day.
The following is an account of what I saw : 
Feb. 2%nd, Barsdna, the Rangtta HolL-~ In the middle of the town is a
small open square, about which are grouped the stately mansions and temples
built by the great families who resided here during the first half of the 18th
century. A seat in the balcony over the gateway of the house still occupied
by the impoverished descendants of the famous Kat&ras Bup Bdm? the founder
of Bars&na's short-lived magnificence, commands a full view of the humours
of ihe crowd below. The cheeriness of the holiday-makers as they throng the
narrow winding streets on their way to and from the central square, where
they break up into groups of bright and ever-varying combinations of colour ;
with the buffooneries of the village clowns and the grotesque dances of the
lusty swains, who with castanets in hand caricature in their mowments the
conventional graces of the Indian ballet-girl,